written by Jason Sanders
The little boy is holding a white cat. But what is his name? What is the cat's name? And who is that behind him?
The light shining over Bobbi's shoulder flickers as she pages through Crockett's picture book for the hundreth time since she rose. The light plays little games on the picture of the little boy and his cat. But what draws the eye is the hand resting in the chair behind the boy. When the unsteady light plays across that arm, Bobbi can almost see the skin pale and the bones twist. But only for a short time. Then the picture is normal again.
The next two pictures... Family. Young people and their children. Old people and their grandchildren. How old? The picture has to be at least fifteen years old... The hair, the clothes. There is a baby and there is a young boy with blonde hair. His eyes. HIS EYES! Surprised? Like the eyes of one touched by Omar's knife. So who are the rest? What do they matter?
Two pictures more... A young boy, not the blonde. Some day in this child's future he will hold a white cat in a photograph, no doubt. He looks so simple... His eyes so free of knowledge. He's too young to fear the world. To fear Bobbi and her kind.
The next page frightens Bobbi. A picture in bad focus. A small swimming pool with the blonde boy standing proud as the brown haired child sits. The focus is terrible but the shadow of a tree falls across the blonde. It's as if his form has been twisted beneath the shade. His arm, his face, misshapen... No. Out of focus.
The brown haired boy never looks at the camera. He seems constantly distracted by some odd presence. Even when facing the camera, he doesn't look at it. In his own little world. He never smiles. Only the blank look, mistaken for for a half-smile. The Blonde boy is often proud, smiling and taking great advantage of the camera.
The light, however, takes advantage of him. His beauty and brazeness twists. He is never perfect when the light strikes him. A hand seems twisted or swollen, the lumps under flesh, but always the eyes. The eyes never change. Those eyes so proud and sad and brazen and lost. Those eyes that sat beneath that horrid mask of bone and flesh. Those eyes that watched as he was crushed and tortured. THOSE EYES!!! Those are the eyes of Daniel Crockett, the lost soul twisted and destroyed by the curse of his clan. Those eyes. That was not the Anarch leader. The anarch leader had knowledge in his eyes. The anarch leader, the one who stole the blonde boy's identity had evil in his eyes. He had understanding. He knew what it was to stab and be stabbed in the back. The anarch leader was not Daniel Crockett and Daniel Crockett was NOT the Anarch leader!
Juan killed an innocent. The boy, for that was all he was despite his size, is now trapped within Del Castillon. A new prison for the poor soul. The poor boy.
The last page...
The last picture...
The brown haired boy covers his eyes... He's smiling. He doesn't smile but he is smiling here. His eyes are covered but his mouth says everything. His mouth, his smile...
Or his tooth.
The tooth is chipped.
All things fall apart.
All things fall together.
The words on the back of the photo reveal the real name. Not Arleccino. Not St. Vitus. "Moses Crockett loves his Grandma. 1988."
written by Jason Sanders
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